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Effendi 09-05-2011 09:20

Prepaid in Italy - How to buy
A little guide on how to buy a prepaid card in Italy and the most common issues.


In order to buy a prepaid sim-card in Italy you must register to the Italian tax system. The only way to do so is to have a CODICE FISCALE.

Smart dealers will generate one for you, but many will not so it's better if you arrive here in Italy well prepared.

Here is a very well done blog with all the detailed instructions about this issue:
How to create an unofficial Italian codice fiscale code to use for making online purchases - Blog from Italy


Once you have your passport and your personal Codice Fiscale you are ready to go to Italy and buy a prepaid sim-card. But of course you need to find a shop which will sell you one.

At most airports in Italy you WON'T find any phone shop. That's very strange for a phone-addict country such as Italy, but so it is. So it's most likely that you will need to go to the city centre and find a shop there. Often there are some shops at bigger railway stations and you will surely find more than one at shopping centres. In the main pedestrianized streets in the centre you will surely find some as well.

Here are some seach engines for official mobile carriers shops:
Poste Mobile

NÚverca is available online or at Panorama shopping centres.
MTV Mobile offers are available at TIM shops.


You have to do nothing. The dealer will do everything for you.
Vodafone and 3 sim-cards are preactivated, TIM sim-cards usually are active after a couple of hours. With Wind it can take longer, officially also 48 hours, but usually they are active in few minutes, but you could be unlucky and wait even a couple of days. No idea about MVNOs, but usually they work as their network operator.


This is very easy. Any phone shop and any Tabacchi shop has refills. Most of them don't have scratch cards anymore but they will simply ask you for your number and the amount in euros you want to refill. So just pay attention to tell them the correct number, that's all.
If you find a scratch card you then will have to scratch it and follow the instructions written on the back. Usually you have to call a number or send an SMS with the code, it depends on the operator.

You are not buying "minutes" like in the US, you are buying credit (euros) which you can use for everything you can do with your mobile (calls, messaging, data, options, etc...).

kuba.g 16-05-2011 11:04

When I was buying my TIM sim card in Cesena last month the dealer seemed more worried about me having no address in Italy. He didn't even mention Codice Fiscale...

My card was activated within 30 minutes.

jbee 29-06-2011 12:47


Unfortunatly I can not get a tax code with the instuctions in fourum.
Code generator gives : "ERRORE: dati incomplet" message.

I translated my home country Latvia with google translate in italian = Lettonia. When I enter Lettonia in large field Comune/Prov. and leave the small blank - the generator gives the error.
BUT if I leave the same name, and birth data and set "my country" as Gran Bretagna it works fine and gives me a code.

My question is - if I am "fakeing" whole code, how important is the birth country?

Effendi 29-06-2011 13:28

You have to write first the name of your country in Italian (i.e., for Latvia, LETTONIA), then you have to always write EE in the small field besides it.

flychr 29-06-2011 22:03

I got it to work today by use the EE:)
and my contry!

jbee 07-07-2011 20:50

don't know why but it didn't work for me.
but i found this site - Calcolo online del codice fiscale e del codice fiscale inverso on wikipedia (Italian fiscal code card - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
an it worked just fine (you have to choose your country from drop-down menu)

Now I am with my Wind sim card with one month free 1 gb internet and also (after quite hard day) with unnecessary 16 digit 5 EUR refil code for TIM!! :D

kimdo 12-12-2011 14:23

What the quality of 3 sim in Itlay? Stable for Internet?

As you say, 3 Sim card is pre-activated, just set the APN is ok and work, no need to activate the Sim, right?

If I buy 3 sim card, do I need the tax code too? Thanks

kimdo 16-12-2011 00:15


Originally Posted by kimdo (Post 38315)
What the quality of 3 sim in Itlay? Stable for Internet?

As you say, 3 Sim card is pre-activated, just set the APN is ok and work, no need to activate the Sim, right?

If I buy 3 sim card, do I need the tax code too? Thanks

Any suggestion?

Piccola 04-01-2012 03:09

Italy Sim Question
I have a Vodafone Sim card that I purchased in Italy. The store set me up with a fiscale code and I was good to go. The problem is trying to add credit outside of Italy. I travel very year but not necessarily within a 12 month period. The website does not allow non-italian credit cards to be used. Last year I went in to the Vodafone store in Italy and they set my credit card info up but somehow the data was lost. Long winded but here is the question. Is this peculiar to Vodafone or all providers, like Tim or Wind. I am considering getting a Tim Sim instead if I can keep it activated while outside of Italy. Thank you

flychr 05-01-2012 15:03

perhaps this will help?

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